A UAE fund for refugee schooling has announced a partnership with Discovery Education to help vulnerable young people, including refugee children, in Lebanon.
The Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair Education Fund (REF) said in a statement that the first-of-its-kind program would deliver online teaching and increase access to education for thousands of refugees, filling gaps in their schooling that have emerged due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
The initiative will reach 5,000 students in addition to more than 17,500 already being helped by the REF in Jordan, Lebanon, and the UAE.
The Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair COVID-19 Online Learning Emergency Fund for Refugee Education was launched by Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair in April 2020 to ensure vulnerable populations were able to continue their learning without interruption.
Discovery Education will collaborate with local organizations in Lebanon to provide access to digital learning resources aligned to the Lebanese curriculum for students in grades eight to twelve.
It will also provide training to 100 teachers to address the challenges of remote instruction, enabling them to access a diverse set of new digital tools to help them deliver online lessons to students effectively.
Participating teachers will also become part of the Discovery Educator Network, an online educational community.
“The economic crisis followed by the pandemic and the devastating blast in Beirut has forced Lebanon to adapt to a new challenging reality,” said Al-Ghurair. “We are proud of this partnership with Discovery Education, as digital is the new solution for education. This program ensures refugees and vulnerable youth have access to high quality education that they would not have otherwise,” he added.
Refugees report high numbers of school dropouts, with less than 2 percent of Syrian refugees completing secondary education. The program will help students catch up on the education they have missed — on and off since October 2019 — through interactive and creative online tools.
“Refugees and vulnerable youth in Lebanon have faced unprecedented challenges over the last year, which have posed several risks to their access to education. We strongly believe that no child or young person’s education should be halted due to external factors which are beyond their control,” Robin Headlee, managing director of Discovery Education International, said.
“That’s why we are doing our part to ensure these young people have the opportunity to continue their education online, in order for them catch-up on their development and not be held back in the future. I am delighted that what started out as a kernel of an idea by two like-minded organization has resulted in this practical, proactive and tangible project.”